I went on about how excited I was to visit this wonderful city in my last post …. a few months later, sat in my Uni halls, thinking back to the amazing summer I had that all started with my trip to this stunning place.

This is a little photo diary of my time there; seeing the sights and being a proper tourist. This was the first time I toured a foreign city on my own so I made the most of it and honed my photography skills. Please enjoy



To thrive off random

I have quite frequently been noted on my almost unexhausted knowledge of random and almost completely useless facts; many of which I note down in my rather shabby old notebook or hold as my phone background.  These usually compile of fantastic quotes from books I ought to read or people I wish I met.

“To thrive of randomness” is realy something we all do everyday. The facts or anecdotes I know come from the podcasts, Tv shows or books I read (yes … I am bit of an old woman at heart) are ingrained in all of us; but it is drawing links, as historians are so notorious for, that allows them to be applied in almost any situation. 

so here are some of the quotes, pictures and facts that I have picked up in the last 6 months. They are a conglomeration of my travels, my education and general life inspiration. My favorite quote this month, as funny as it is, is beginning to ring true as A-levels tip into the borderline breakdown stage and to just have one night where i am not panic writing an essay would be lovely.

“cinderella never asked for a prince she asked for a night off and a dress”

– Kiera cass

I have just got back from a “night off” with a few of my friends having tamely celebrated an 18th birthday at a dinner party (I suppose all my friends are old at heart realy).  How could I not resist writing down such a fabulous quote !

This next one I took a picture of in a bookstore in America. Being dyslexic I did actually use this quote in my personal statement although the 3000 words did not include such a fabulous sketch.


This next picture is also from my trip to america, the grand canyon to be exact. Did you know that in 1935 some poor souls laid a telephone line from one side of the canyon to the other!


while we’re still on the topic of dyslexia – I found this image yesterday of what it looks like to read with the condition. luckily i’m not this bad but just regularly forget words, spellings, phrasings oh and funnily swapping up of numbers; suppose I am reading 1975 I would say 1957 whilst thinking I am saying 1975 … random no?

you have probably already guessed from the first two quotes but I like a good sassy historian, J.M.Roberts is exactly that and this quote from him is one of my all time favorites … i have ended many an argument with this line.

“I have not changed my mind about a particular topic and have felt no need to give it more or less attention”

– J.M.Roberts


So there you have it a few random bits and pieces from my collection. This notebook of mine also holds some great ideas for my new youtube channel please check it out (if you already hadn’t) www.youtube.com/channel/UCynlSlG8Iq44FQZi2X8vCtw , although I am not sure how I film “my drunk historic kitchen”!

Please like and comment if you enjoyed this. I am also thinking of doing a random fact/quote of the month – what do you think?


see you soon fellow time travelers


Japanese Woodblock prints

These amazing traditional woodblock print from 19th century Japan illustrate the extent to which Japan westernised after the Meiji Restoration of 1968.

writing A-level history coursework, on Japan’s transition between the 19th and 20th century and its rise to world power, these woodblock prints became a welcome relief to pages of intense historical debate.

Woodblock prints were originated in the early 8th century to disseminate texts Buddhist scriptures. These printed designs on paper and silk became a convenient method of reproducing written texts. In the 18th century Polychrome prints were made using a separate carved block for each color, these could be up to twenty. To print with precision a system of placing two cuts on the edge of each block to serve as alignment guides was employed. Paper made from the inner bark of mulberry trees was favored, as it was strong enough to withstand numerous rubbings on the various woodblocks and sufficiently absorbent to take up the ink and pigments. Reproductions, sometimes numbering in the thousands, could be made until the carvings on the woodblocks became worn.

Japan orientated itself with the west as a way of defending its independence and this became the primary content of late 18th century prints. “Throwing off Asia” in a policy Datsu-A Ron they followed a course of westernisation in order for its international status to be orientated with the west. These images depict how Japan westernised on such a rapid and impressive scale.

"Complete Picture of a Steamship: Scenery of Uraga from the Sea" by Sadahide, 1863 [Y0070] Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution

“Complete Picture of a Steamship: Scenery of Uraga from the Sea” by Sadahide, 1863

Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution

"Steam train between Tokyo and Yokohama" by Utagawa Hiroshige III, 1875 [2000.549] Sharf Collection, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

“Steam train between Tokyo and Yokohama” by Utagawa Hiroshige III, 1875

Sharf Collection, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

“Famous Places in Tokyo: True View of the Post Office at Edobashi” by Kobayashi Ikuhide, 1889 [2000.509] Sharf Collection, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

“Famous Places in Tokyo: True View of the Post Office at Edobashi” by Kobayashi Ikuhide, 1889
Sharf Collection, Museum of Fine Arts, Bosto

“Famous Places in Tokyo: Picture of Azuma Bridge and a Distant View of a Torpedo Explosion” by Inoue Tankei, July 1888 [2000.395] Sharf Collection, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

“Famous Places in Tokyo: Picture of Azuma Bridge and a Distant View of a Torpedo Explosion” by Inoue Tankei, July 1888

Sharf Collection, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

“Illustration of Singing by the Plum Garden” by Toyohara Chikanobu, 1887 [res_53_82] Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Illustration of Singing by the Plum Garden” by Toyohara Chikanobu, 1887

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

“Illustration of the Imperial Diet of Japan” by Gotō Yoshikage, 1890

Sharf Collection, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston


Reference –




Today in History / Google …

So anyone who logged onto Google today will have seen this wonderful design by Artist Kevin Laughlin-

41st Anniversary of the Discovery of the Mountain of the Butterflies

celebrating the 41st anniversary of the Discovery of “the mountain of butterflies” on the 9th of January 1975 this is a piece of recent biological history when a Canadian team, lead by Red Urquhart, ended a decades search for the conglomeration of Butterflies in southern mexico’s  Sierra Madre Oriental mountains .


Following tagged individuals they found over 3 million butterflies in less than  56,000 hectares. This site has now become the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve and a world heritage site as of 1980.

The event still reminds us that there a places on the earth we do not know about and that i am very happy about – unspoilt places are becoming rare and even this sanctuary is now a major tourist attraction.

To find out more here are some great videos …


Barbados national museum

Of course when your on a sports tour with your school the first thing you want to do is visit the local museum and drag your whole team along with you.

The museum was held within the old military prison in old Bridgetown. This building was abiously colonial and defiantly military – shown by the two cannons positioned by the gates.

Not being allowed to take photos I will give you a brief summary of the museum’s contents.

Room one- we walked through the gift shop into long room with poorly attempted  air conditioning. The exhibit showed and described the original tribes of the island. These Stone Age people migrated from nothamerica and artifacts found show this. They also shared the practice of taking narcotics during rituals, the only bit my friends found interesting.

Room two – after the extinction of these intoxicated people the island is not inhabitanted until (essentially) cotton and sugar industries take hold. The experbition at this point became fairly similar to Portsmouth museum. Each case contained relics from the 18th century. Relatively well kept there were display cases of shell ornaments, stuffed animals and horrific memoirs of the largest trade on the island.

Room three – mostly a homage to cases sporting memorabilia from the glory days of the West Indian cricket team. At this point the poor air conditioning got the best of me and I headed for the breezyist bit of shad I could find, only to find that the rest of the team had already done the same.

I took shelter in a small, dark, cool room. As my eyes adjusted I could see the braces for a pair of shackles a knee hight, a small glass window for a lantern to sit behind, and the old supports for a bed. This was the prison cell that any unfortunate millitary personnel would find themselves before there fateful punishment. I instantly decided maybe the heat of the museum wasn’t too bad after all, at least I had been able to walk around.

I steeped out of the cell and walked around the court yard of a bit. Wondering up to the concrete platform in the middle I realised where I was standing immediately. My freind, a vegan, also decided to join me. Telling her this was the spot were excicutions took place turned her face pale (hard to do when your hot and sweaty). As she quickly left I felt inclined to leave with her, the spot had a morbid feel and I felt a bit haunted in that moment.

In conclusion if you happen to find your self forced to visit sunny, beautiful Barbados stop by the museum. It’s a great place despite the poor air con!


Walking around St  Andrews 

I wasn’t quite sure what I was expecting in this medieval  town; with world renound golf courses, beautiful ruins and of course the famous scotish univercity. But what I found pleasantly suprised me, apart from the 1/3rd of American students,  St. Andrews was a hub of medieval architecture, ruins and unfortunate  60s design. 

Honestly though I spent a few days up in Scotland, coincidentally in the same area where much of my family spent both wars, and I loved it. It was this gloriously sunny day (unusual for Scotland) and the town was lively, full of students and prospectus. 

I spent the day before the open day walking around the town. I have to admit I was one of those tourists who spent a little bit too long in the cemetery – were a unique bunch. In my defence the ruins of the towns medieval cathedral were scattered across the graveyard. This once grand structure now lay as a few odd towers,arches and paved floors. It was recognisably a medieval structure, looking closely at the still standing structures you felt unbelievable sad that the reformation ever happens.

I have never wanted to study in Scotland more then after visiting St.Andrews. The whole vibe just echoed an American collage with a history and competence of Oxbridge.

The first person I spoke to was a student origionly from the Middle East studying physics. This amazing Young man was sudding for his Dr while teaching at the uni.  Yet he seamed like a first year; confident and, surprisingly for a physicist, incredibly relatable and chatty. I just though – that could be me in a few years – making me feel instantly at home. I understood these people and I wanted to be one of them . 

The town exceeded all my expectations. The little museum was a treasure trove of local artifacts and history. Me and my dad especially enjoyed our hotel especially since it was above a pub and the football was on! 

I got back home after a long week going from st.Andrews to Bath for a conference to Northampton. Returning to school I was yelled at by my form tutor – apparently I had been too ambitious. My dreams of Scotland and St.Andrews lay in ruins scattered accord the cemetery that has now become my UCAS application.  – remind you of anywhere ? 




International man of history

Sir Roy strong- a rather eccentric historian (the best ones usually are), dressed up as a range of historic figures…  Need I say more? 

As an Art Historian Sir Roy strong became inspired by John Swannell’s photograph of an Elizabethan gentlemen in 2010. Composing a list of paintings to recreate they embarked on the project. 

“I have an art historical eye and my aim was to capture contrasting styles and periods. I wanted to be David Beckham, but John rejected  that one. And though we toyed with the idea of me cross-dressing , ultimately I said no” 

The article (from the Sunday times) that these photographs are taken from, call him the “International man of history”. Without Fault Roy recreates a series of well known figures, ranging from Maharajah to Abraham Lincoln, the execution of which is perfection  and his range of likeness is surprising. If there was ever a way to make a modern news story out of history – this would be my NO.1!